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Co-Payment Increases Result in Gaps in Veterans' Prescription Usage
Date:1/14/2009

American Heart Association rapid access journal report:

Study highlights:

-- Cholesterol-lowering drug adherence drops with an increase in VA prescription co-payments.

-- The odds of going for 90 straight days without medication was three times higher among patients in the all co-payment group and twice as high in patients in the some co-payment group when compared to the exempt group (received prescriptions without a co-payment).

-- Researchers suggest charging lower co-payments for generic drugs than for the brand-name prescription drugs or linking co-payments to the individual patient's need.

DALLAS, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fewer veterans filled their prescriptions for cholesterol-lowering drugs after an increase in co-payment costs for prescription drugs, researchers report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In February 2002, the Veterans Administration (VA) increased prescription co-payments from $2 to $7 per 30-day drug supply.

To determine the impact of the co-payment increase on cholesterol-lowering medication adherence, researchers examined the electronic records of 5,604 veterans treated at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center from November 1999 to April 2004.

They compared veterans in the all co-payment group and the some co-payment group with veterans who were exempt from making prescription drug co-payments. The all co-payment group paid co-pays for all drugs and the some co-payment group paid co-pays only for drugs for non-service connected health problems with out-of-pocket expenses capped at $840 per year.

Researchers analyzed the differences in cholesterol-lowering medication adherence during the 24 months before and 24 months after the institution of co-payments. Evidence of veterans having cholesterol-lowering medicatio
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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